What is Outside Sales: The Complete Guide

what is outside sales

When it comes to sales, there are outside sales and inside sales. Now you must be wondering how sales can be inside or outside! The truth is the difference has been created quite recently with the advent of sales technologies and web conferencing solutions. Today, we will explore outside sales in-depth sparing a few words to differentiate with inside sales.

But first, let’s see what outside sales mean.

What does Outside Sales mean?

Outside sales is a sales process that takes place outside the office. Investopedia refers to it as the sales process taken up by the reps on the field. They meet prospective customers, set up appointments, provide demos and convert leads into sales.

Inside sales, on the other hand, refer to the sales that take place remotely. A rep may use various tools like emails, calls, chat to encourage conversions.

Outside sales are more expensive and time-taking but yield better results. Companies that rely on outside sales beat companies using inside sales at a close rate by 30.2%. The deals also turn out to be around 130% larger.

Most companies these days use both outside and inside sales to earn more revenue. It’s also a more effective way to get more clients and ensure that you have to worry less about your competitors leveraging ahead.

A Typical Day in an Outside Sales Rep’s Life

Reading out to customers isn’t often easy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, outside sales reps engage regularly away from the office. You will hardly find an outside sales rep sitting in the office other than to make reports or input customer data.

An outside sales representative may or may not get a lead from the marketing team. That means he has to knock on doors, meet managers and try to dig up potential leads during their workday. In fact, 42% of sales rep consider prospecting to be one of the biggest challenges.

A big part of an outside sales rep’s day is spent driving around from one location to another. Modern sales tools provide features like route mapping to optimize a sales rep’s day and bring down the costs of traveling.

An outside sales rep also travels to other cities, states or countries to find business. He/She meets people face-to-face to qualify leads, discover pain points, offer a solution and push for sales. The company generally bears the lodging and other expenses too.

The schedule of an outside sales rep is flexible. He/She has the autonomy to make decisions based on situations in the field. They carry out a complex and longer sales process and generally earn more than inside sales reps.

Elements of Outside Sales Process

So, how does it work? Here is a look in detail at how you can get more leads, easily.

Lead Discovery

We already discussed how sales reps struggle with lead prospecting. So the first step of the outside sales process is finding the right people you can talk to. Companies use various methods to discover leads like by searching for professional platforms like LinkedIn.

An outside sales rep may also directly approach the reception to see if anyone is available. The process takes more time than discovering leads for inside sales where you have tools to track and identify potential customers.

Mapping Territory

It’s not practical to drive around arbitrarily without any plan visiting customers randomly. An outside sales rep will map his sales territory and chalk out the best routes just like a logistics company. This helps the company and reps to optimize their routes cutting both travel time and fuel cost.

Customer mapping is also important if you want to improve productivity. Knowing where your customers are located, the distances between them and other details are necessary for a seamless outside sales process.

Modern sales tools enable companies to use GPS-enabled maps or Field Sales App for territory and customer mapping. The outside sales rep can have a detailed understanding of the region he is handling without having to go through pages of spreadsheets.

Setting Up Appointments

If you need to meet your prospects face-to-face, you will need to set up appointments. This can be a lengthy process involving phone calls or visiting prospective companies in person. Many reps use a sales script so that they can speak naturally and convey the important things he wants to say.

Digging Up Pain Points

The goal of a product or service is to solve the pain points of the customer. So if you don’t know what are the pain points, how are you going to solve them?

When outside sales reps first meet a prospect, he will try to determine the pain points. Then he will offer the solution in the form of your product or service. Expert sales reps know how to align their solutions with customer pain points and push for sales.

Presentation or Demo

You may need to provide a presentation or demo of your product to convince your prospect. The presentation should address all queries and pain points of the potential customer for the most impact. You can use various resources like case studies, videos in addition to your demo to encourage conversion.

Wrapping Up

Most companies now use a mix of outside sales and inside sales. The inside sales team discovers leads and hands them over to outside reps to follow up. You should consider your product and buyer persona to determine if you need to focus on inside or outside sales. Most people today are used to buying remotely without meeting a sales rep. On the other hand, doctors, professors or B2B clients are used to on-field reps. You should find out and use the most preferred way to get in touch with your customers for increased sales.

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